Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Window on Eurasia: If US Attacks Syria, Russia Should Send Troops into Baltic Countries, Moscow Researcher Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 27 – A Moscow specialist on the CIS, who a year ago said Russia should “restore its military control” over the South Caucasus, yesterday said that because the situation has “changed,” the Russian government should respond to American “aggression” against Syria by sending its military into Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

            Mikhail Aleksandrov, the head of the Baltic section of the Moscow Institute of CIS Countries, advanced that idea on his LiveJournal page yesterday where it has already attracted numerous comments and from which it has been reposted (m-alexandrov.livejournal.com/26151.html, m-alexandrov.livejournal.com/14606.html?thread=240142&#t240142 and newsbalt.ru/detail/?ID=13268).
            Given his past comments – for his 2012 proposal see his article in an Armenian newspaper at noev-kovcheg.ru/mag/2012-13/3333.html – and the dangers that would flow from an attack on three countries that are members of NATO, Aleksandrov’s views almost certainly do not reflect a consensus in the Russian political elite.

            But they are indicative of the currently overheated atmosphere in the Russian capital regarding Syria and the West and the continuing propensity of many in Moscow to think what many in Western capitals consider unthinkable – a Russian military thrust against NATO countries.

            And they are perhaps especially disturbing because they come shortly in advance of US President Barack Obama’s meeting in Washington at the end of this week with the three Baltic presidents, Toomas Hendrik Ilves of Estonia, Andris Berzins of Latvia, and Dalia Grybauskaite of Lithuania.

            In his post yesterday, Aleksandrov begins by recalling his earlier proposal about the South Caucasus but suggested that “now the situation has changed,” with Armenia having ceased to be “a reliable ally” of Moscow and Azerbaijan having made “steps toward a rapprochement with Russia.”

            But according to the CIS researcher, “Russia must make it clear to the West that it will pay a high price for aggression against Syria,” and it can best do that by deploying its forces where “we have clear strategic supremacy, that is, in the Baltics.” In short, Moscow must tell  the West: “you attack Syria in violation of international law, and we will occupy the Baltics.”  

            Even before doing that, Aleksandrov continues, Russia must pull out of the nuclear test ban treaty and conduct “a demonstration nuclear explosion on Novaya Zemlya” in the Arctic.  “This will show the West the seriousness of our intentions and preparedness in the case of need to use nuclear arms.”

            “With the United States,” Aleksandrov suggests, “it is possible to speak only with the language of force. They do not understand any other language.” 

            And to that end, the CIS specialist says, Moscow should “right now begin to concentrate” its military forces “on the borders of Latvia and Estonia and also in Kaliningrad oblast and in the Baltic Sea.  It is possible,” he says, “that his will exert a sobering influence on the hot heads in Washington.”

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